Interview with Dynazty guitarist and founding member Love Magnusson
There are a very few number of the “younger” bands that really grab my attention and get the excitement flowing through my veins when word a new album is on the horizon. In fact I could probably list them on one hand. But at the forefront of that list stands Dynazty. This band has continually blown me away with each album.
Their first two albums are very good but for me they really exploded on their third record, ‘Sultans Of Sin’ and then turned a complete 180 in their sound and dropped their fourth record ‘Renatus’ and the beast that is Dynazty was born.
With four musicians who can sure as hell play and a vocalist who can sing his ass off, this band has released record after record of some of the best melodic hard rock and metal that is being released, proving that these guys have found the secret of making truly great music and have done so time and time again.
The release of their seventh studio album just slightly in the rearview now, I reached out to founding member, songwriter, guitarist extraordinaire and just all around great guy, Love Magnusson, in hopes of garnering an interview, he kindly agreed and I sent my questions over.
MMR: Hey man, thanks so much for taking the time to do this, I really appreciate it. Well first let me start with the obvious question right now, how are you doing? Are you and your loved ones staying safe and healthy during these crazy times?
LM: Hey man! Thank you! Yeah, the world is upside down right now, but so far everything’s ok over here.
MMR: What is the current situation like there in Sweden with all of this Covid-19 shit that’s going on in the world?
LM: Well, everything’s slowed down. We do not have any restrictions in that sense that we can’t leave our homes, and stores and companies are still open. However there is a strict 2 meter distance rule and as many as possible is working from home.
MMR: Well let’s just go back to the beginning for a minute. When was it that you first started to gain an interest in guitar and when did you actually start playing?
LM: Since I was around 4 I gained an interest in playing guitar. We had an old Levin acoustic guitar at home which I liked to play with and told my mom that I wanted to be a rock star when I grew up. Then at the age of 7 I started taking guitar lessons. But the real practicing mania started when I was 12 and for the first time saw Yngwie performing on Swedish TV. I was blown away!
MMR: So you learned to play guitar but when did you first try your hand at writing music?
LM: Well, the very first songs I ever wrote was for Dynazty’s first album, but of course I wrote a few snippets before that.
MMR: You know, a lot of musicians have told me things like music was the only option there ever was for them, that if they hadn’t made it in music than there was no plan B. Is that how it was for you or did you have another interest or passion or even just a fall back plan if the whole music thing didn’t take off for you?
LM: No! No option B. All or nothing! 🙂
MMR: So obviously we know you from Dynazty, but pre-Dynazty were there other bands you were in or was Dynazty the real start of playing in a band for you?
LM: Before we started Dynazty I played in a band called Zan Clan, featuring some members from Shotgun Messiah. We did a few shows over a 2 year period. It was a fun start after highschool!
MMR: Well tell me about Dynazty. How did you guys meet and what brought about the band? I believe you are a founding member and if I am not mistaken, you are the only original member of the band left.
LM: Me and John Berg started hanging out at the rock bars in Stockholm and after a while we started talking about starting a band. We asked George and Joel, who also was frequently seen around the same places, if they wanted to join. Later on we found Nils via Myspace. Well, Yes I am a founding member but since everyone mentioned above joined just months later, I would say we all are.
MMR: You released two albums, 2009s ‘Bring The Thunder’ and 2011s ‘Knock You Down’. What were those early days like for the band? Were you well accepted? What kind of exposure did you have? Did you see a lot of doors opening for you? That kind of thing.
LM: The very first album came out of pure teenage optimism. We booked studio time before we started writing songs and just sad “Hey, let’s make an album and conquer the world“. Obviously that didn’t happen 🙂 but, It set a good pace for things to come. Later that year we got an opening slot for a Swedish band ‘The Poodles’ on their European tour after nagging at their drummer “Kicken“, who lived close by, to listen to our album. We were well accepted for the people showing up on the shows, but in Sweden no one cared much. Then for the second album we signed with Hollywood actor Peter Stormare and his record company. Which led us to Hollywood where we wrote and recorded that album for a period of time. At this time we also were a part as an entertaining act in Swedish final of the Eurovison song contest with the song ‘This Is My Life’. Even though we got a lot of PR due to this, we didn’t get very much out of it for our part. But it was fun times and lots of partying! 🙂
MMR: I believe Chris Laney was the producer for the first record, is that right? How did you guys end up with him and what was it like working with that guy? He’s had a hand in a lot of great records.
LM: I knew Chris from the band Zan Clan as I mentioned, where he was a member and producer. He is a great guy and a great producer. Always fun to work with!
MMR: So I think it was both 2011 and 2012 that Dynazty was part of Melodifestivalen. What were those experiences like for you and the band?
LM: It was fun for what it was at that time. We didn’t get much out of it, and probably wouldn’t do it again. But we enjoyed it!
MMR: After being on the show was there any noticeable growth of your fan base? I’d imagine it gave you a level of exposure you had yet to achieve at that point within the band itself.
LM: Yes, for a short period of time. Then it faded.
MMR: Around the time of your second appearance you released your third album, ‘Sultans Of Sin’. While I was aware of the band before, this was the record that I started to notice more interest in the band. I started hearing more chat about you in music circles and such. I enjoy the first two records but something about this one just seemed to click. Everything just seemed to come together for that record. I don’t know if you, as the band, noticed that, but if so to what do you attribute that? Was it just the natural evolution of the band, the maturing as songwriters or what?
LM: Well, I would say both that we evolved a little as songwriters and also that we changed our sound a little bit. Our vision with that album was to take a little distance from the “sleaze” era that was going on in Stockholm at that time. Which we fully did on following album ‘Renatus’.
MMR: Up until this point your first three albums had been pretty similar in sound. Very much hard rock with a touch of sleaze thrown in, and then lightning struck in 2014 and the beast that is Dynazty found their sound. The band returned with ‘Renatus’, arguably your best album up to that point and it marked a major departure in sound for you guys. Leaving behind the hard rock, sleaze sound of your past records you leapt straight into in-your-face melodic metal with even some touches of power metal. What brought about this drastic change in sound for the band at that time?
LM: Well, we wanted to do something completely different. That “boys become men” kind of thing. Haha! But, we felt that we had been holding back and it was time to lose the rules. We just wrote from the heart with no restrictions.
MMR: So the new album, ‘The Dark Delight’, has just recently dropped and wow, man! You guys nailed it once again! Amazing record. You know one thing that I like about Dynazty is that ever since ‘Sultans Of Sin’ you change the sound up with each album. Never as drastic as the change from ‘Sultans Of Sin’ to ‘Renatus’ but always a change. I won’t say that you reinvent the wheel with each record because it is always very recognizably Dynazty, but you always change some things and never really make the same record twice as some bands do. Is this a conscious decision or just something that happens organically as you write?
LM: I would say it’s both. We keep the recipe, but we add new ingredients to both keep us stay hungry and also trying to keep the listener to get a fresh feeling. I find it a little boring when bands repeat themselves. We always try to evolve instead of just following the same path.
MMR: ‘The Dark Delight’ is album number seven in only eleven years for the band! That is pretty amazing. Where does all of the creativity come from and where do you draw influences from when it comes to writing?
LM: The creativity comes mostly from the need to try to make the metal-worlds greatest album of all times! I’m not saying that we have, but we are trying! 🙂 And also from the wonderful feeling when you created a song you actually likes yourself. To me, song writing is an absolute need in life. We are pretty much influenced by everything we like. No limitations to genres etc.
MMR: Speaking of writing a record, how is that dynamic within the band? Do you all write stuff separately and then get together and go over the material and decide what stays and what goes, or do you get together and then start writing or what?
LM: We often start separately, then go over things on the phone back and forth. Then when we have the basics down we meet and start working. But sometimes a couple of us write from the start together.
MMR: Now all of you have our own things going on outside of the band. Nils of course now a part of Amaranthe and the rest of you play with other artists and bands at times. Does that have any effect on the band when it comes to writing and recording new music and touring or are you all able to kind of do your own things and still make sure to dedicate the time needed to handle everything within the band? How do you balance all of that as a band?
LM: For us as a band, it was been proven to have a good outcome for us. We open a lot of doors due to this and it actually makes many of us to have more time and hunger to invest in Dynazty.
MMR: Well we mentioned the other things you have going on and I know that you and Georg play with a few folks such as Dee Snider and Joe Lynn Turner and I have to ask man, what is it like getting to play with legends like that?
LM: It’s purely amazing! Standing on stage and looking to the right and see your childhood heroes! Sometimes I have to pinch my arm!
MMR: So the new record, again I will just say wow! You guys just never disappoint me. There are very few bands that can boast of having that many albums back to back in that amount of time that are all just superb! Kissin’ Dynamite, Eclipse, H.E.A.T. and Dynazty. Those are about it in my opinion. Of course there are other bands putting out great stuff. Some good friends of mine are the guys in Bulletrain, particularly Jonas TIllheden, and those guys are fantastic. Pretty Wild are bloody great and there are others of course, but few that record as consistently as you and are as consistently great. Keeping up with the every other year schedule of releasing albums, touring schedules for the band and your other projects, it doesn’t seem like it would leave a great deal of time left to write so how far in advance of going in to record a new record do you typically start the writing for it?
LM: Thank you so much! We usually start writing about a year after the release of the previous album. Not too soon, since you need a little distance to your own work to evolve. Then we go all in writing 24/7 as maniacs….:)
MMR: Again this record brought some changes in sound for Dynazty, from the rather Scottish Highland sounding jig of the music in ‘The Man And The Elements’ to the screams and growls of Henrik Englund on ‘From Sound To Silence’ to the spoken word part of ‘Presence Of Mind’ this album once again shows a slightly different side of Dynazty. You have said that this is your favorite record yet. What is it to you that makes this one stand above the rest of your albums?
LM: The songwriting/instrumental arrangements is what does it for me. For me, this album contains second to none “dead-time” which makes it a good listen! Keeping the ear amused throughout the album. And also, the album which the outcome is closest to what we had in mind while writing it. That is to me satisfying!
MMR: I love the whole record but for me I think ‘The Black’, ‘Waterfall’ and ‘The Road To Redemption’ are my favorites although the title track is pretty fantastic also. What are your favorite tracks from the album?
LM: Most of them! 🙂 but the three singles plus ‘Hologram’, ‘Architect’ and ‘Apex’ are my favorites right now.
MMR: Well following that question I will just ask more broadly, what are some of your favorite Dynazty songs throughout your whole discography?
LM: For me a very important song is ‘Starlight’. I just love the feel of it. I also really appreciate ‘Northern End’, ‘Untamer Of Your Soul’, ‘Freemans Anthem’, ‘Firesign’ and of course a lot of songs from ‘The Dark Delight’. 🙂
MMR: With all of this virus stuff going on it has obviously put a halt to touring and live shows and recording for a lot of people. It has also delayed the release of many albums. Thankfully ‘The Dark Delight’ released on schedule but were there any talks of perhaps having to delay that release due to everything?
LM: No, we stuck to the plan all the way through. We will reschedule shows as much as possible for the Autumn/Winter.
MMR: Again, with live shows and touring being stopped it has given a lot of musicians, well a lot of people period, time off. Undesired time off mostly but still time off from work. What have you been doing to pass the time there, have you found yourself writing more than usual?
LM: No, since the album was just finished I am taking some time off. Doing stuff I don’t normally have time for.
MMR: You have toured all over and I am sure that like with any artist that has any amount of live shows under their belts that there have been some pretty crazy things happen during a show. What is, or are, the craziest or most embarrassing things that have happened while playing?
LM: Well a lot of crazy things have happened… too many to mention… 😉
MMR: Well again, thank you so much for taking the time to sit and answer these, man. One last question and we’ll be done. You have played and toured with some pretty big names in the music industry but if there was one person or band that you could play guitar with or tour with who would that be?
LM: Thank you!! 🙂 Really hard question to answer. I really haven’t thought much about it, but if Michael Jackson was still alive I would very quickly accept the job if offered! Haha! 🙂
Interview by David.